Friday, February 6, 2004

On Lying Well

I have a problem with lying. I can’t do it, or at least, I can’t do it well. The little stupid lies that most people don’t think twice about, I worry and fret over, and am convinced I’ll get busted. It’s hardly worth the ulcer.

This is a problem, you ask? Actually, YES. For one thing, during my thirty years in the workforce, I would have benefited from being able to tell a good lie. The people who can spew the best bullshit are the ones who climb the ladder the quickest. Those of us not gifted with that ability usually end up crouched at the bottom of the ladder, and the silver-tongued fibbers use us as the first step. I could never brown-nose or butt-kiss…it’s just another form of lying. (And a particularly gross one, judging by the terminology alone…) It wasn’t that I didn’t do it because I had some huge moral objection to it. It just never occurred to me. I have not a smidgen of natural talent for it.

This total inability to lie convincingly has also kept me honest in my personal finances. There’s no way I could ever hope to schmooze my way out of a bad debt situation…."The check is in the mail…" I always swore they could hear my nose growing over the telephone.

Honest people are probably the biggest suckers in the world. You have an expectation that when someone says something, it’s true…since that’s the way it works for YOU. I wish I had a nickel for every line of bullshit I have swallowed hook, line, and sinker. It’s terrible to try and be a boss when you’re saddled with this affliction. Your employees learn quickly that any half-baked story will do to get them out of trouble. Somebody could have the missing $20 from the till sticking out of their pocket, and if they told me they didn’t take it, I’d probably believe them. God knows what would have happened if I had kids.

Well, you can’t say I never learn. At this advanced age, I’m finally able to recognize bull when I hear it. The other day, one of my sisters told me a real whopper. I wanted to believe her so badly that I made up a whole scenario in my head that explained what happened as an honest mistake. When it turned out she really WASN’T telling the truth, I was of two minds about the whole thing. I felt somehow victorious that I had sniffed out this lie (after the equivalent of being hit in the head with a baseball bat.) But, knowing my sister had lied to me did NOT make me happy. Sometimes it felt better just being a sucker.


  1. I too am a terrible liar. There have been times when I think I'll just stretch the truth a bit...but it gets caught in my throat - I'm SURE it would show on my face. And like you - I want to believe everything someone tells me.
    We have a friend who has been very successful climbing the corporate ladder. He says' he's writing a book "A Brown Nose is a Happy Nose!" Kinda' makes you want to puke, doesn't it?

  2. I worked in sales too long to say that I can't lie. I learned how to spin and polish the truth to where it wasn't quite a lie, but doing so just made me feel like I had abandoned my morals. It has made spotting the BS a lot easier.

  3. Well, I'm really sorry your sister lied to you. I hope there was a good excuse. I'll admit right here, right now, that I've been known to tell a lie or two in my lifetime and I think I'm quite convincing. I'm not being hateful when I lie (or at least that's what I tell myself). Gosh, I don't really like admitting this and seeing it in writing. But if I said I never lie, I'd be lying...

  4. Hey! I just stumbled on your journal via AlphaWoman's, I think ... and I'm very excited about this find. Will be back!

    I've lied, but rarely anything earth shattering and I am definitely trying to go without! I like that "I" word and want it said about me when I go ... INTEGRITY.

    ~ Karyn

  5. Outstanding entry! Honestly!.......Especially the part about "brown" nosing. You know, having never been one of those types and always an honest sucker, I appreciate your analogy of brown nosing equalling dishonesty and lying! I think I will always view butt-kissing in a whole different manner from now on!

  6. Aw, come on! I wouldn't be sorry you can't lie. It's an excellent quality to have. But, that is separate a separate quality from learning to distinguish when others are lying. Glad to say it sounds like you are making progress. Sorry that you were upset about your sister, though.. :-/